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Katherine Carlson started off the final week of her high school career by being named Miss Volleyball on Monday at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Now Carlson will try to help Notre Dame Prep repeat as Class B state champions. Notre Dame Prep will play Dearborn Divine Child in a state quarterfinal Tuesday at Clawson. The winner will move on to Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek for the state finals.

Carlson, a 6-foot outside hitter, led the state in kills (1,001) last season, including 25 in the state championship match. She has 991 kills with a .527 hitting percentage this season in five fewer matches.

"She has tremendous passion for the game," said Notre Dame coach Betty Wroubel of Carlson, who will play next year at Valparaiso. She was also recruited by Michigan State, Notre Dame and several other schools. "You can tell she loves the game and her classmates.

"She had over a thousand kills last year and is closing in on that again and that's a tremendous accomplishment. She has great vision and court awareness, allowing her to go around a block when there's a 6-2 or 6-4 kid going up to block."

Carlson had 21 kills and 18 digs in a regional final sweep of All-American Ali Bastianelli and Marysville last week to improve to 56-5. The Irish are 118-7 the past two seasons.

Wroubel had a Miss Volleyball runnerup in 2007 in Molly Coldren, who led the Irish to the state championship that season.

Now, Carlson will attempt to do what only Amanda McKinzie (Battle Creek St. Philip, 2012) and Alexandra Cocklin (Birmingham Marian, 2009) did out of the past half-dozen Miss Volleyball award winners -- follow up the honor by winning the state title later that week.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

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